Grow

Sweet Peas

The sight and scents of sweet peas always seem to transport adults back to the sun-drenched gardens of their childhood. Modern-day kids, too, will enjoy growing sweet peas, thus establishing similar fond memories for a new generation. Sweet peas are very easy to grow. Here’s how to go about it:

How to get started with sweet peas

Start by choosing a spot that gets sun for most of the day. A fence that runs east-west is ideal because the northern side will be soaked by the sun right through winter. Support for climbing sweet peas is critical so, if no fence is available, you’ll need to construct a trellis, a tripod or some other upright structure. One of the easiest ways to create a sweet pea support is by tying three tomato stakes into a teepee and wrapping the stakes with horizontal layers of string.

Sweet peas love some lime in the soil, so this means adding Yates Garden Lime or Dolomite before planting (which won’t, of course, be necessary in places where the soil is naturally alkaline). Next, mix in some Thrive All Purpose plant food and some old compost or manure to increase the soil’s humus levels.

Water the bed well the day before planting, then sow direct where the plants will grow. Don’t water the bed again until after the seedlings have emerged. Cover the seeds well with soil because they’ll only germinate in the dark. Some strategically-placed twigs will help direct the young climbers towards their support.

Keep a Yates Fungus Gun on hand because this newish systemic fungicide will control powdery mildew, a disease that often attacks sweet peas.

Which variety?

Maintaining a long-established tradition, Yates has an exciting selection of sweet peas in its seed range. Most are large-growing climbing varieties, but some are small growers that are suitable for pots. They include:

“Original” is the small-flowered, purple and maroon sweet pea that was first discovered growing in Sicily in the 1600s. What it lacks in colour, it makes up for with its stunning fragrance.

“Colorcade” is the traditional favourite, with its mix of early-blooming, brightly-coloured stems.

“Old Fashioned” is similar to “Colorcade” but tends to flower later, so performs best in areas with cool weather in spring.

“Cupid”, “Bijou” and “Potted Fragrance” are all low growers that can be planted into containers or in garden beds. They can be allowed to form a low ground cover or can be grown up a small tripod.

“Pixie Princess” is a mixed colour variety that’s the smallest of all. It only reaches 22cm in height, so is the true baby of the sweet pea family.

Look, too, for special colour collections such as “Renaissance” (pink and white bicolours), “Brilliant Fragrance” (soft pink and cream) and “Blue Reflections” that explores all the blue/ purple options in the colour spectrum.

See our full range of Sweet Peas




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